Attorney General Menahem Mazuz and State Attorney Eran Shendar expressed their satisfaction Wednesday over former justice minister Haim Ramon's conviction of committing an indecent act against a female soldier who worked for him at the Prime Minister's Office. However, the two stressed that "the day on which an Israeli minister is convicted is not an easy one." Regarding the court statement on the issue of failures in transferring investigative material to the defense team, Mazuz and Shendar said that it had already been decided that a professional investigation would be conducted, irrespective of the case's outcome, into the use of wire-tapping. "This investigation will be carried out by the vice president of the Tel Aviv District Court who had already agreed, before the conviction, to take the investigation upon himself," read a statement from the two.
Comment: Ramon's tale of the kiss (archive)
Meanwhile, Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter called on Ramon to resign from the Knesset.
Dichter said that Ramon must "continue along the moral path he paved for himself" when he conducted his fight after standing down from his position as justice minister.
Following the unanimous ruling against the former justice minister, government heads and MKs were quick to voice their opinions.
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said that while she was personally sorry to hear that Ramon had been convicted, the ruling should be respected.
Livni urged the public to accept the court's decision. "I fully believe in the legal system," Livni asserted.
"This is a victory for [Attorney General Menahem] Mazuz," said MK Michael Eitan (Likud.) Eitan praised Mazuz for "standing his ground" and serving Ramon with an indictment.
MK Arye Eldad (NU-NRP) also hailed the ruling, albeit for different reasons, calling Ramon's conviction "another nail in the coffin of the Olmert government."
"This is the most corrupt government Israel has ever had," Eldad said. "It need to disband and we have to hold elections."
Prosecutor Ariella Antler-Segal declared that "The court believed every word the plaintiff said. The court has sent a clear message to the public: A [forced] kiss is an indecent act. It's not in the 'gray area' and it's not sexual harassment. A [forced] rench kiss is an indecent act. The court showed that it had no faith in the defense, which was manipulative and untrustworthy."
MK Yuval Steinitz (Likud), on the other hand, said that he was sorry to hear the verdict. "It's wrong that a misunderstanding between a man and a woman, even if it caused great discomfort to one of them, should become a criminal offense and a court conviction."
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert also issued a statement in which he expressed his "deep regret" for Ramon's conviction.